Health and Wellbeing

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

The CDC reports that patients with this novel (new) coronavirus have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Severe illness is more common in people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems, as well as older adults.

COVID-19 Testing

Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) is working with San Luis Obispo County Public Health for appropriate testing for COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) and direction for patient care, quarantine or isolation, should it be indicated. CHW may collect specimens for onsite testing. Specimen collection for COVID-19 is performed by swabbing the nasal cavities.

Call Your Health Care Provider to Make An Appointment

  • Students: please schedule an appointment with a medical provider at Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211.
  • Faculty and Staff: please contact your personal medical provider.

Train to be a Volunteer COVID-19 Contact Tracer

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department needs volunteer contact tracers. There are free, online training courses available for campus community members who are interested in serving as a COVID-19 contact tracer for the county. The training takes 21 hours to complete. It is sanctioned by the state and is held in conjunction with San Luis Obispo County Public Health. Email Christina Tutt for more information.

Mandated Use of Face Coverings

As of June 18, 2020, the California Department of Public Health has mandated that people must wear face coverings when outside their homes in specific circumstances. There are also exceptions to the new rules. The state mandate applies to the Cal Poly campus.

  • When to wear face coverings
    Visit the Prevention page for an overview of situations when face coverings should be used on campus, and some of the exemptions that may apply to Cal Poly community members.
  • Ordering Cal Poly branded face coverings
    Departments can order branded face coverings, but orders must go through approved vendors only and follow all requirements.

Mental Health Resources

We are here to support you. Cal Poly students can contact Cal Poly’s Counseling Services and 24/7 hotline at 805-756-2511.

Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling services (available to employees and their families) at 800-367-7474, or visit the Employee Resources Work Life site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens after a campus community member tests positive for COVID-19?

When learning of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department conducts a detailed contact investigation, focusing on individuals with whom the patient has had close contact.

When a member of Cal Poly’s campus community tests positive, county public health will contact anyone (including other campus community members) identified to have been in close contact with the individual. Cal Poly will assist public health in the investigation as appropriate.

Can Cal Poly release more information about any confirmed cases of campus community members?

The university can only release limited information about individual community members who test positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19 — due to general privacy concerns and those specific to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Wouldn’t releasing more information about positively diagnosed individuals help others to know they might have been exposed?

The university is sensitive to the concerns of all community members but must balance these with the privacy rights of individual community members.

To reiterate, county public health officials conduct detailed contact investigations for all patients who test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. Anyone who has been identified as having significant risk of exposure in a specific case will be contacted and alerted by county health officials. If, through information gleaned from the contact investigation, potentially exposed persons include a broader group without the possibility of having a complete list of individuals, such as class attendees, that type of information will also be shared.

What do I do if I think I have, or someone close to me has, coronavirus?

Any student who believes they may be exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus is asked to call the university’s Health Center for further instruction. Students are asked to visit the Health Center and not go directly to the emergency room.

Employees should call ahead before visiting their doctor. If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have coronavirus. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Stay home except to get medical care and separate yourself from other people and pets in your home. Wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

Other tips to keep you healthy include:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean your hands often
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening
  • Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, coronavirus
  • If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for coronavirus. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive

(Source: What to Do if You Are Sick from the CDC)

I’m immunocompromised; how can I protect myself on campus?

The safety and wellbeing of our campus community is important to us. If you are considered at a higher risk due to being immune compromised, refer to your medical provider to ensure the appropriate protection from illness. Your medical provider knows the most about your specific medical history . They are best suited to determine your specific needs and provide additional recommendations to maintain your personal safety.

Other tips from the CDC to keep high risk individuals healthy include:

  • Stock up on supplies, including medications.
  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications.
  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from coronavirus at home.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a coronavirus outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Source: CDC

Who is most at risk of getting sick?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.


Should I wear a mask? What type of mask would be helpful? 

A cloth face covering should be worn at all times by people who have coronavirus or are showing symptoms, even at home. This is to protect others from being exposed to the virus. The cloth face cover should completely cover the nose and mouth. Those who have or show symptoms of having coronavirus are also strongly advised to stay home and avoid contact with others, except when seeking medical care.

For additional information, visit the CDC page What To Do If You Are Sick.

In addition, the CDC recommends that all individuals use cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) as an additional safety measure. This additional measure is especially recommended for individuals in areas of significant community-based transmission.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, but coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost.

For additional information, visit Considerations for Wearing Masks (CDC).

→ Face Covering Guidance (California Department of Public Health).

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus? 

There is currently no vaccine to protect against coronavirus. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often. (Source: COVID-19 from the CDC)

Who can I speak with if the situation makes me feel stressed or overwhelmed? 

We are here to support you.

Cal Poly students can contact Cal Poly’s Counseling Services and 24/7 hotline at 805-756-2511.

Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling services (available to employees and their families) at 800-367-7474, or visit Employee Resources

What is the best way to protect myself against coronavirus? 

The best way to protect yourself against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently especially before eating, cover your coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. In addition:

Treat yourself well.

  • Eat healthy
  • Maintain good sleep habits
  • Manage stress
  • Drink plenty of fluids

Make it hard for viruses to spread.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Influenza is still present in our community. Please check with your healthcare provider whether obtaining the influenza vaccine is advisable for you.

Think of yourself and others.

  • Students, if you feel ill, please contact Campus Health and Wellbeing to schedule an appointment on My Cal Poly Portal, or calling 805-756-1211.
  • For faculty and staff, please contact your personal medical provider.
  • Stay home from school, office hours and work, and reduce contact with others until your symptoms subside.

Is it still safe for me to live on campus/come to work on campus?

Yes. Cal Poly continues to work closely with health officials, including County Public Health, to maintain the wellbeing of our campus community. We ask all members of our campus community to closely follow all state and county shelter-at-home orders, and take preventative measures to stay healthy.

Only essential employees are currently allowed on campus and many residence halls have closed. The university is also supporting the limited number of students who are still living on campus. Students are urged in the strongest possible way remain at their current residences for the entire spring quarter and conduct their spring courses virtually, in accordance with the county’s shelter-at-home order.

What preventative measures should I take to stay healthy?

In addition to strictly following the stay-in-home orders, prevention continues to be key in fighting the spread of the virus. Social distancing and thorough hand-washing with soap and water are among the very best ways to protect against viral infections.

What safe, healthy activities can I do at this time?

Outside activities such as walking, hiking and biking are acceptable as long as you maintain appropriate social distancing of at least six feet from others. However, you are asked to stay home and not travel through the community unless it is absolutely essential. This is critical to help minimize the spread of this virus.

Remember that many in our community may be more susceptible to contracting and suffering more severe cases of COVID-19. These vulnerable populations rely on all of us to be responsible and do our part to minimize this disease.

Public Health Resources

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